Surfers pay tribute to Sean Collins

Hundreds of surfers from around the world paddled Sunday not for swells but for calm waters where they circled up to pay tribute to revolutionary wave forecaster Sean Collins.

The founder died of a heart attack at age 59 on Dec. 26 in Newport Beach. Collins transformed the sport by developing a technique to forecast ocean swells.

Surfers worldwide monitored, which is based in Huntington Beach, and his forecasts were so respected that they were used by lifeguards, surf companies, television and movie crews — even the U.S. Coast Guard and National Weather Service. The site gets 1.5 million hits a month.

Named one of Surfer magazine's 25 most influential surfers of the 20th century, Collins was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2008.

Many of his loyal followers took a pause in the action Sunday to join paddleout memorials at Huntington Beach, Hawaii's North Shore, Fiji's Tavarua Island and China.

Collins' sons, Tyler and A.J., joined hundreds of surfers at the Huntington Beach memorial.

Surfers paddled to calm waters, sat in a circle atop their boards and celebrated Collins' contributions to the sport with stories and memories.

When asked recently what he would tell novice surfers today, Collins, according to, replied: "Follow your passion, try to be a really good person and a good judge of character and then just surround yourself with a great team and really good people. Add lots of luck and all kinds of great things can happen!"

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Lisa Girion.

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